Diseases and Parasites Carried by Birds

Most of us have heard of the bird flu, and the major pandemic created by it. However, there are many more diseases and parasites that birds can transfer to humans. In fact there are more than sixty other diseases carried by birds, and this is not counting the parasites that they can pass along to us. Therefore, it is important to never interact with any wild birds because not only are they wild animals that can peck or bite you, but they can also make you very sick. Here are a few of the diseases and parasites that birds can transfer to us.


A few major diseases:

  • Histoplasmosis- This is a respiratory disease that is transferred to humans by breathing in fungus spores that are found in bird droppings. It can make you very sick, and in some cases it is fatal.
  • Candidiasis- This disease is a fungal infection spread by pigeons. It affects the the skin, mouth intestines, the urogenital tract and the respiratory system. It can be extremely painful and itchy.
  • St. Louis Encephalitis- This disease is spread by mosquitoes that have bitten pigeons, sparrows, or finches that carry the Group B virus, which causes this disease. This disease starts as an inflammation of the nervous system. Most symptoms include drowsiness, headache and fever. This disease may cause paralysis, coma or even death.

A few major parasites:

  • Bed bugs- Did you know that a bed bug can consume about five times its body weight in blood? Most of us do not connect bed bugs to birds. However, pigeons, sparrows and starlings carry these nasty pests, and they can easily jump off these birds and attach to us or our surroundings.
  • Chicken mites- They usually feed off the blood of various birds, but they have been known to also feed from humans. They can carry encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that may be fatal. These mites may also cause fowl mite dermatitis, which is usually observed by a rash or lesions.
  • West Nile Virus- Though known to be spread by mosquitoes, this disease begins in birds. A mosquito becomes infected with the virus by biting an infected bird. Therefore, the less birds in an area the lower the risk of a mosquito feeding from an infected bird, and the lesser the chance of you contracting West Nile Virus.

There are many reasons to remove any birds that may be nesting in your house or yard. You do not want to end up contracting any of the many diseases they carry or any of the other pests that may attach themselves to these birds. If there happen to be any birds too close for your comfort, you should call in the professionals. You do not want to get too close and end up getting sick or worse.

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